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Kaj Williams, Ph.D.

Kaj Williams is a planetary and atmospheric scientist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center.

Kaj studies the interaction of planetary surfaces and atmospheres for Earth, Mars, Venus and Titan. In particular, Kaj studies snow, ice, caves, soil, and the atmospheric boundary layer. These topics converge when studying planet-agnostic subjects such as desert dunes, ice caves, snowpacks, and wind. 

Professional Experience

  • Physical Scientist, USGS Astrogeology Science Center. 

Education and Certifications

  • Ph.D. Atmospheric Science, University of Colorado - Boulder.

  • M.S. Astrophysical, Planetary and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Colorado - Boulder.

  • M.A. Mathematics, University of Kansas.

Affiliations and Memberships*

  • American Geophysical Union

Abstracts and Presentations

  • Williams, K.E., Toon. O.B. (2006) Can exposed mid-latitude snowpacks on Mars melt today? Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) Houston, TX

  • Williams, K.E. and Geissler, P. (2018) Do Venusian Antidunes Exist?  16th Meeting of the Venus Exploration and Analysis Group (VEXAG) held November 6-8, 2018 in Laurel, Maryland.

  • Williams, K. E.; Titus, T. N., (2019), Venus Dune Analogs: Where on Earth Do We Find Them?, 17th Meeting of the Venus Exploration Group (VEXAG), held 6-8 November, 2019 in Boulder, Colorado.

  • Titus, T.N. and Williams, K.E. (2019) Mars Low Altitude Polar Clouds as a Diagnostic to Polar Processes. Ninth International Conference on Mars.

  • Williams, K.E. and Titus, T.N., (2020) Venus antidunes: lessons from unconfined terrestrial density currents Sixth International Planetary Dunes Workshop, held 12-15 May, 2020.

  • Titus, T. N.; Williams, K. E.; Cushing, G. E.; Okubo, C. H., (2020), Cave Breathing in a Terrestrial Analog Atypical Pit Crater — Insolation Induced Convective Cooling, 3rd International Planetary Caves Conference, held 18-21 February, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas.

  • Lander-Phillips, C. et al., (2020), MACIE: Mars Astrobiological Caves and Internal Habitability Explorer (a New Frontiers Mission Concept). 51st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

  • Dundas, C. M., Williams, K. E., McEwen, A. S., Byrne, S., Mellon, M. T., Bramson, A., (2020). The distribution of ice exposures on Mars. LPSC 51.

  • Prettyman, T. H. ; Titus, T. N. ; Cushing, G. E. ; Okubo, C. H. ; Sankey, J. B. ; Williams, K. E. ; Caster, J. ; Boston, P. J. ; Schorghofer, N. ; Spilde, M. N. (2020) Muon Overburden Gauge for Planetary Analog Studies of Cave Ice Stability.  3rd International Planetary Caves Conference, held 18-21 February, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas.

  • Phillips-Lander, C. M., Wynne, J. J., Parness, A., Uckert, K., Chanover, N., Titus, T. N., ... & Williams, K. E ,Wyrick, D. (2020). Science Returns Expected from MACIE: Mars Astrobiological Caves and Internal Habitability Explorer (A New Frontiers Mission Concept). In 3rd International Planetary Caves Conference.

  • Titus, T. N.; Williams, K. E.; Cushing, G. E., (2020), North Polar Springtime Removal of Cold-Trapped H2O Ice Through Insolation-Induced Basal Sublimation of CO2, Seventh International Conference on Mars Polar Science and Exploration, held 13-17 January, 2020 in Ushuaia, Argentina.

  • Diniega, S., et al., (2020). A Critical Gap: In situ Measurements of Planetary Surface-Atmosphere Interactions Beyond Earth. Amer. Astron. Soc. Division of Planetary Sciences Annual Meeting.

  • Phillips-Lander, C et al., (2020), MACIE: Mars Astrobiological Caves and Internal Habitability Explorer (a New Frontiers Mission Concept) for the next decade, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2020.

  • Phillips-Lander, C. et al., (2020), Mars Astrobiological Cave and Internal habitability Explorer (MACIE): A New Frontiers Mission Concept, Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group Meeting #38 (Virtual), April 15-17, 2020.

  • Williams, K.E., Titus, T.N., (2021), The diurnal fluxes of water vapor in a sand sheet, Workshop on Terrestrial Analogs for Planetary Exploration.

  • Diniega, S., et al., (2021). Technology Advances Enabling Focused In-Situ Studies of Planetary Surface-Atmosphere Interactions. AAS DPS Annual Meeting.

  • Titus et al, (2021), From the Stars to Your Tap:  How Cosmic Ray Surveys Can Be Applied to Local Hydrology. Flagstaff Chapter, Arizona Hydrological Society Monthly Meeting, November Newsletter.

  • Titus T. N.   Williams K. E.   Gullikson A. L., (2021), Cave Ice:  A Tale of Two Analog Caves, Workshop on Terrestrial Analogs for Planetary Exploration, June 16-18, 2021.

  • Gullikson, A. L., Titus, T. N., Williams, K. E., and Cushing, G. (2021) Ripple Migration at Grand Falls Dune Field, Northern AZ. Terrestrial Analogs Workshop.

  • Diniega, S., et al., (2022). It’s Time for Focused In-Situ Studies of Planetary Surface-Atmosphere Interactions. IEEE Aerospace conference.

  • Titus, T. N., Cushing, G. E., Gullikson, A. L., and Williams, K. E. (2022) Grand Falls Dune Field 2022 Ripple Field. 7th International Planetary Dunes Workshop

  • Gullikson, A.L.Titus, T.N., Williams, K.E., and Cushing, G. (2022) Grand Falls Dune Field, Northern Arizona: Ripple Field Imaging and Meteorological Data Release for 2021. 7th International Planetary Dunes Workshop

Science and Products

*Disclaimer: Listing outside positions with professional scientific organizations on this Staff Profile are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement of those professional scientific organizations or their activities by the USGS, Department of the Interior, or U.S. Government